Comic Review: Wonder Woman/Justice League Dark: The Witching Hour

Published: October 3rd, 2018 – October 31st, 2018
Written by: James Tynion IV
Art by: various

DC Comics, 145 Pages

Review:

This picks up right after the recent Justice League Dark arc The Last Days of Magic.

This was a big crossover event that was stretched over five issues: Wonder Woman/Justice League Dark – The Witching Hour #1, Wonder Woman #56, Justice League Dark #4, Wonder Woman #57 and Justice League Dark/Wonder Woman – The Witching Hour #1. The way it was organized was a clusterfuck but it was worth hunting down all five issues, all of which came out over the course of October.

In a way, this felt like Wonder Woman starring in her version of the X-Men‘s famous Dark Phoenix story arc.

The reason I say that, is that Wonder Woman has essentially been possessed by this powerful force that takes control of her body and makes her evil and incredibly powerful. However, this doesn’t quite commit to the bit like Dark Phoenix did, as she doesn’t really cause that much damage overall and she also sort of wills herself good again with the help of her friends and allies.

The force in this is Hecate, an ancient witch that actually came into contact with Wonder Woman when she was still a child. So, essentially, this Hecate thing has been in her this whole time. This seems incredibly ambitious and somewhat suspect but I have really enjoyed James Tynion’s writing, so I went with it. Plus, DC’s continuity is incredibly confusing at this point.

The biggest highlight of the previous Justice League Dark story was the cast of characters coming together to fight magical evil. While those characters are here and even more are added, this put more emphasis on Wonder Woman’s journey and lacked the great camaraderie I enjoyed before this. I hope that comes back in the next story arc. The Detective Chimp and Man Bat stuff was great in The Last Days of Magic.

In the end, this wasn’t as iconic as the Dark Phoenix tale but it didn’t need to be. However, the build up made this feel like it was going to be a darker, bigger event than it turned out to be. It really didn’t have any effect on anything in the larger DC Comics universe.

This could have been a good mega event, as it had a much better premise than the current one: Heroes In Crisis.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: the current Justice League Dark series.

Comic Review: Nightwing, Vol. 2: Back to Blüdhaven

Published: June 20th, 2017
Written by: Tim Seeley
Art by: Minkyu Jung, Marcio Takara, Marcus To

DC Comics, 169 Pages

Review:

I’ve heard great stuff about Tim Seeley’s run on Nightwing. After reading the first collection, I really wanted to jump into this. And while the first wasn’t great, it left me feeling as if it was building towards something solid. This, however, really took the wind out of the sails of Seeley’s run, in my opinion.

This focuses on Dick Grayson a.k.a. Nightwing going to Blüdhaven for the first time (in this new continuity that I’ll never get used to). He wants to mark out his own path and be a hero without the support system he’s always had. He even takes a social worker job to pay his rent, as he wants no help from Bruce Wayne.

This then introduces us to a whole slew of new characters that Seeley created. Nightwing teams up with some ex-villains who are trying to redeem themselves as heroes. These ex-villains are comprised of characters that Nightwing, back when he was Robin, helped bring to justice. So he feels somewhat responsible for helping their rehabilitation and allowing them to truly have a second chance.

The problem is, all these characters seem really generic and destined to be thrown away fairly quickly.

One thing I really didn’t like about this, which I enjoyed in the first volume, was that Nightwing and Batgirl’s budding relationship is put on hold. Dick falls for the Defacer, one of the ex-villains that debuts here. Having read later in this series, past the Seeley stuff, I know that Dick and Barbara Gordon still aren’t together but it was nice seeing them explore the option. They have a moment here but it’s kind of sad, as I’m not too keen on Seeley’s Defacer character.

Anyway, this just didn’t resonate with me like I hoped it would. It’s not terrible but it also didn’t make me want to pick up the third volume. So, I guess this series is on hold for me now, as I read some other stuff in the meantime.

Rating: 6/10
Pairs well with: the ongoing Nightwing series, as well as BatgirlRed Hood and the OutlawsDetective Comics and Titans.

Comic Review: Cursed Comics Cavalcade #1

Published: October 10th, 2018
Written by: Bryan Edward Hill, Tim Seeley, James Tynion IV, Mags Visaggio, various
Art by: various

DC Comics, 86 Pages

Review:

I’ve stated before that I’m not the biggest fan of anthologies but this was a lot of fun and most of it was pretty good.

This came out just in time for Halloween and even though it’s given a “#1” on its cover, I’m pretty sure that this anthology of superhero and horror mashup stories is just a one-off release to celebrate the month of October and all its horrors.

With each story we also get a different creative team, so the quality varies but there wasn’t anything that I’d say was disappointing.

The only real negative was that cramming ten stories into 86 pages means that those stories are really short. I felt that there were a lot of good ideas here that needed more room to breathe. It was hard feeling like there was any tension or a legitimate build up, as everything was over almost immediately.

I thought that the Superman story probably did the most with the short space it had. I also really liked the Swamp Thing, Etrigan and Solomon Grundy tales.

If you are into these heroes and love horror, this is a fun read. Nothing substantial or all that memorable happens within these pages but it didn’t need to.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: other horror anthologies but this also goes well with the current run of Justice League Dark.

Comic Review: Justice League Dark: The Last Days of Magic

Published: July 25th, 2018 – September 26th, 2018
Written by: James Tynion IV
Art by: Alvaro Martinez, Raul Fernandez, Brad Anderson

DC Comics, 79 Pages

Review:

Man, this series is a lot of fun and this short, three issue arc was a great kicoff to this new version of the Justice League Dark team.

This squad consists of new leader Wonder Woman, as well as John Constantine, Zatanna, Swamp Thing, Man Bat and Detective Chimp. Doctor Fate is also involved but there is a twist to his involvement. By the end of this arc, I’m not sure if he’s going to be a member of this team or not.

These first three issues of Justice League Dark serve to set up a crossover event called The Witching Hour, which just started. It’s a crossover between the regular Wonder Woman comic and Justice League Dark and sees Princess Diana gain some pretty powerful magical abilities that she’s never had before.

I love how dark and how fun this series is. I bought it because I liked the team and every member in it. Granted, I think Man Bat comes off as dumber than he should be, I mean, he’s a brilliant f’n scientist. But I love all these characters and it seems like a really cool and fresh angle for Wonder Woman. I like seeing her tap into the magical parts of her existence. I also like the stuff that was added to her backstory here.

I really dig the new villain that comes out in the third and final issue of the story. He’s creepy as hell but just freaky and badass enough to make things really interesting. Plus, his power level, as far as one can tell from this story, is pretty damn incredible. But this also leads to Wonder Woman evolving into something beyond her own power level. Is this leading to a Dark Phoenix sort of saga for Wonder Woman? It very well could but I don’t want to ruin this for those who want to read it.

James Tynion IV has written a damn fine and damn fun comic book story. I hope that this maintains its great momentum going forward, as it’s one of my favorite comic books being put out by DC, right now.

Rating: 8.5/10
Pairs well with: The Witching Hour crossover that follows and the original Justice League Dark series.

Comic Review: The Flash: Rebirth

Published: October 8th, 2013
Written by: Geoff Johns
Art by: Ethan Van Sciver

DC Comics, 158 Pages

Review:

I love Geoff Johns work at DC Comics and I have always loved his collaborations with artist Ethan Van Sciver. Their work on Green Lantern got me back into comics during a time when I had sort of faded away from the medium due to no longer being as engaged by it.

Green Lantern: Rebirth was one of my favorite comic book stories of all-time. It made me love Hal Jordan and I was pulled in by Johns’ writing and Van Sciver’s wonderful art. Since I also liked Johns’ Flash stuff, I figured that The Flash: Rebirth would be something that I would also love. But sadly, it just didn’t do it for me.

The biggest problem that I have with Flash stories is the damn Speed Force. Also, in recent years, the Flash pocket of the larger DC universe is overloaded with too many characters with the same lame set of powers. There are so many damn speedsters that it’s really f’n redundant.

In an era where people are screaming for diversity, even though it has existed in comics for decades, maybe there should be a call for diversity in powers in the Flash titles. I mean, if you’re going to cram a dozen heroes and villains into a plot, why are they all similar? And why is that exciting? And to be frank, this is why I lost interest in The Flash TV show, which I loved when it started.

Anyway, the art in this is damn good but Van Sciver hits the right note stylistically speaking when it comes to how this era of DC felt. He was a premiere architect in DC’s visual style from 2007-2014 or so. This book lives up to the standard one should expect from his work but apart from that, there wasn’t much here for me to enjoy.

The premiere villain is the Reverse Flash, another f’n speedster. And really, this is all about the weird, mystical Speed Force that is capable of anything a writer needs it to do. I don’t know, Speed Force heavy stories bore me to tears and they’re hard to keep up with because it’s all pseudo-science mumbo jumbo made up on a whim to explain random ass shit. I prefer stories where one Flash takes on one of his many awesome rogues that aren’t speedsters.

This is probably really good if reading about a dozen speedsters and Speed Force stuff is your thing. For me, it numbed my brain and made it hard to get through.

And fuck… this had so many damn cameos. I felt like it partially existed just to wedge in as many characters as possible.

Rating: 5.5/10
Pairs well with: The Geoff Johns era of The Flash, as well as his era of Green Lantern.

Retro Relapse: The Great American Pussification

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2015 but resurrected because people are still fake-offended snowflakes.

I use the word “pussification” because there is no better term. If you are offended, you are a victim of pussification. And frankly, you’re not really offended, you just think that you’re supposed to be.

But no, I am not calling pussies weak. I’ve encountered many that are very strong. Female pussies, I mean. Male pussies, are very weak. And it isn’t to say that I am calling women lesser than men, this is to say.. oh, you know what? Fuck it, I’m not explaining myself to a bunch of easily offended pussies. Just hit the back button now if you are already uncomfortable or take it to Twitter where you can bitch and moan behind the safety of blocking and only converse with other pussies that agree with you in an effort to get fantasy brownie points for a scoreboard that doesn’t exist.

Additionally, I don’t use the word “wussies” because that is how pussies say “pussies”.

The Great Pussification of America began a long time ago. It is a movement that has succeeded, as every generation since World War II has fallen victim to this bullshit epidemic. It keeps getting worse as the years go on. No, I am not talking about gay people or transgenders or any of that, if you want to be gay or change your sex, I don’t give a shit. In fact, those who deal with the assholes who come against them because they fear people different than themselves, you are a thousand times stronger and more courageous than the douchebags you have to constantly deal with. In fact, you are pillars of non-pussification. How about that, bible thumpers a.k.a. Jesus pussies?

This morning I read about an elementary school that banned a Wonder Woman lunchbox. This is the note they sent home to the parents:

Okay, this is the lunchbox that they found so offensive:

This is a prime example of the Pussification of America.

That actually seems like a pretty awesome lunchbox featuring a powerful hero for girls to look up to. Of course, the note says, “We have defined ‘violent characters’ as those who solve problems using violence. Super heroes certainly fall into that category.”

Uh, okay. Obviously, the school doesn’t know jack shit about most superheroes and they also have bad fucking grammar, as “superheroes” doesn’t have a space in it. This sounds like the worst group of educators ever and they also look like giant fucking pussies.

This is how the public school system, many parents and other adult groups of “evolved socially conscious” dickwads are. They’re pussies coddling children to the point that kids can’t develop the necessary skills and life experience needed to face adversity and challenges head on. A generation, actually, several generations of these kids are growing and entering the world as adults – adults who cannot function like adults.

Another huge example of pussification is participation trophies.

Kudos to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ James Harrison who threw his kid’s participation trophies in the garbage. Why? Because his kid didn’t earn them. They were given to him just for participating.

What kind of liberal bullshit helicopter parent coddling parade is this? What is the point of striving to be the best if you get a prize regardless? But these fuckwits don’t want anyone to be the best, they want everyone to be in the bottom of the soft, cuddly, safe septic tank, knee deep in their bullshit.

When I grew up, I didn’t get trophies for participating. I got them for winning (or coming in second or third). I didn’t cry that I didn’t get a trophy if I wasn’t the best. In fact, I never expected to be the best at everything. I knew that I had to win to get the prize and if I wanted the prize, I had to work for it. Sometimes, even then, there was someone who was better at a challenge than I was. This is how life works.

You wake up, you attack the day, you do your best. Often times, someone does better. People have different strengths and weaknesses. Giving a trophy to everyone rewards weakness. The world, the real world that we all live in regardless of rose colored glasses and over sensitivity, does not reward weakness. If you teach small children the opposite, the world will smack them in the face hard and they won’t be prepared for it. We all see this happen every single fucking day but some chose to play the victim and blame those who succeed.

If you want that trophy, work for it. If you can’t get it, you know that what you are trying to achieve might be out of reach and then move on to find something you’re better at. Childhood is a trial period before adulthood. It isn’t a continuation of infancy. Kids have to fail, they have to sometimes have bad experiences, this is how they learn and adapt to a world that isn’t always their friend. To ignore this fact is asinine.

Everyone wants their kid to win. But shouldn’t people want their kid to win at the big picture that is life? So what, they are batting 8th on their Little League team. One day, they may change the world with a Fortune 500 company if you don’t coddle them into being a huge pussy afraid of risk versus reward.

In regards to all this anti-bullying stuff that’s popular now, I hate bullies. I fucking loathe them, actually. But are adults wasting too much time on teaching kids to tattle on bullies instead of focusing on helping them develop confidence, brass balls and the skills to handle their own problems?

I’m not saying that adults shouldn’t step in if things get out of hand but to some degree, a child needs to learn how to stand up against an asshole because they will face many more in life. Also, this teaches the kids to always rely on authority and not themselves. Relying on authority usually comes with a pretty shitty outcome.

And nowadays, the things that are considered “bullying” are fucking laughable. Expressing a different opinion is “bullying” in 2018. This article, by many, even though I single no one out, is probably considered “bullying”.

So, do you want your child equipped to properly handle adulthood? Or do you want them to be a crybaby bitch scared of jerks, living at home at twenty-seven with a bedroom full of participation ribbons?

I hate helicopter parents. If you don’t know what they are, Google it. The problem is that there are so many nowadays. I deal with the ramifications of it on a daily basis, working with younger people. And I’m only thirty-six, I’m not that old.

However, this millennial generation has been coddled to death. They are leaving college, entering the workforce and many of them can’t handle a normal amount of daily adversity and challenges. They shutdown, call their parents and panic. They also don’t have good problem solving or time management skills. They need that parental figure to constantly push them and they need constant validation and acceptance. They don’t understand work relationships versus friendship. They also don’t understand why not everyone gets raises and aren’t asked to participate in certain projects. They’re a lost generation that expect the world to be easy and for their hand to be held at all times.

Granted, I have met many younger people who are the antithesis of this. I am not saying that it effects every millennial-aged person but it is still large enough to be an epidemic. There just don’t seem to be enough of the good ones.

So, is the future bright when we are going to have adult-sized toddlers running the show?

But who am I? I’m just some insensitive asshole that hates kids according to helicopter parents and overly-invested, overly-sensitive teachers. But I don’t give a shit what they think about me, I just give a shit about what they’re doing to the future.

Film Review: Justice League Dark (2017)

Release Date: January 24th, 2017
Directed by: Jay Oliva
Written by: Ernie Altbacker
Based on: Justice League Dark by Peter Milligan, Mikel Janin
Music by: Robert J. Kral
Cast: Matt Ryan, Jason O’Mara, Camilla Luddington, Nicholas Turturro, Ray Chase, Jerry O’Connell, Rosario Dawson, Alfred Molina

Warner Bros. Animation, DC Entertainment, 75 Minutes

Review:

“I expect the worst, so I prepare for the worst, and when the worst happens, I’m ready. But my outlook doesn’t alter the reality of the world.”- John Constantine

I started reading the current run on Justice League Dark and I really love it, at least one issue into it. I figured that I’d give this a watch because of how much I was into the comic and because I’ve liked a lot of the modern DC Comics animated features.

This was a pretty cool film.

I loved the tone, I liked the choice of characters for the JLD team and is it possible that someone was cooler than Batman? Why, yes! His name is John Constantine.

It was neat seeing Constantine take center stage, where he outshines Batman and shows how cool of a character he actually is.

It mostly made me upset that the live action Constantine TV show was cancelled after a measly thirteen episodes because it could have kept growing and got as epic and awesome as this animated feature. Hell, had it gone on into multiple seasons, it could have expanded like the other DC Comics TV shows on the CW and Constantine probably would have had a whole squad, thus making that show a live action version of this film sans Batman.

Anyway, this had solid animation, a great voice cast and I liked how the regular Justice League characters were used in this.

This is one of the better DC animated features that I have seen.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: Other recent DC Comics animated features.